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Sotomayor's Views on Abortion, Gun Rights Come Under the Microscope

By Ben Pershing
The main storyline of Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination -- whether she'll be confirmed -- seems hardly in doubt, but her candidacy has already become the vehicle for other interesting subplots. On gun rights, abortion and even immigration reform, Sotomayor has provided the platform for advocates on both sides of the aisle to battle it out.

Sotomayor's abortion views are the focus of multiple front-pagers today. The New York Times says "some abortion rights advocates are quietly expressing unease that Judge Sotomayor may not be a reliable vote to uphold Roe v. Wade." As was the case with the man she would replace, David Souter, Sotomayor's paper trail on the issue is relatively thin. With Souter, conservatives made assumptions about his views that later came back to haunt them, and liberals hope to avoid making the same mistake today. The Los Angeles Times notes that "in her only abortion-related decision, she did not come down the way [abortion rights supporters] would have liked," referencing Sotomayor's role in upholding the constitutionality of the so-called Mexico City Policy in 2002. Per tradition, Sotomayor surely won't give a clear answer on her abortion views when she appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee, so will the White House find some other way to reassure its allies on this issue?

Gun rights groups also have a problem with Sotomayor's views, and in this case it's because of her substantive record, not her lack thereof. In particular, they cite a 2004 ruling in which Sotomayor joined two other judges to declare that "the right to possess a gun is clearly not a fundamental right." You can expect conservative groups to put red-state Democratic Senators on the spot on this issue, pushing them to agree or disagree with Sotomayor. "These senators will jeopardize their seats if they vote to support an anti-gun radical for the Supreme Court," writes Ken Blackwell, warning that "you should never underestimate the political power of American gun owners."

Continue reading at Political Browser »

By Ben Pershing  |  May 28, 2009; 8:16 AM ET
Categories:  The Rundown  
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Next: Court Watch: As GOP Hangs Back, Conservatives Attack Sotomayor


Its hard to see anyway that Ms Sotomayor wont be confirmed. I just hope she will prove to be a true counterbalance to the Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Scalia faction.

PS Based on the 08 election and my personal opinion there are many (a majority obviously) people who don't "cherish" the right to bear (buy, sell, own, brandish, use) guns.

Posted by: rawreid | May 28, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it interesting how one has no right to drive a car- it is a priviledge, but everyone has the right to own a gun? How is it that transportation, which is a necessity to get to work, school, stores etc., is a priviledge that you can lose the right to fairly easily and yet the right to own a gun is a given and hard to take away, even from those who may not use them properly?

Posted by: alaskan2 | May 28, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Some source material here:]

thanks for giving me a chuckle,S50. i read that link u gave. sounds to me like some ppl need to take the tinfoil off their heads. that will stop those vigilantes from getting access to your minds and property. look out! there's one behind u right now!!! DUCK
sorry s50, this is so mean. but does it occur to u that there are lots of lunatic, conspiracy theory groups and they are all in fact controlled by an intergalactic confederation of aliens? u can read about it on [if it's hasnt been corrupted/disabled by the forces of ZOITZ]
[plz dont get mad folks. i am sorry. i get made fun of on these forums,too. the only purpose they fill is too bring the joy of making fun of those that dont agree with us. nobody's here to inform (tho they delude themselves into thinking that). ppl only preach to their own choir and boo the 'other church'

Posted by: fellowbozo | May 28, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Despite what appears like 'nails' in her coffin, I see her confirmed, if there is common 'sense' involved in how Senators vote.
But in a matter of time -- that level of 'savvy' will be revealed.

Posted by: Victoria5 | May 28, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Oh, gawd, here we go..the poor embattled NRA/gun rights folks are going to have hissy fit about Judge Sotomayor's 2004 ruling. Yes, we have learned not to underestimate the power of the gun lobby, we are a military-industrial country and love to export lethal weapons to anyone who will buy them. Fundamental rights may not include the right to own something whose only function is to kill something.

Posted by: socalmom | May 28, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

The Sotomayor confirmation "fight" looks to be a dud. Even most Republican realize that mindlessly sniping at Obama's pick over old ideological divides gets them nowhere with voters.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | May 28, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Should Abortion be a litmus test for a Supreme Court Nominee?


Posted by: usadblake | May 28, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse


Hispanics are said to be a prime ethnic "target" for the parallel system of extrajudicial vigilante (in)justice promoted and funded by secretive federal agencies and commands...

...a/k/a the "extrajudicial punishment network" spawned or expanded during the Bush-Cheney years, and apparently perpetuated by the naivete of Team Obama.

Will Sen. Specter, a long-time human and civil rights advocate, question Sotomayor about the misuse of federal programs that have fielded a vigilante citizen army that stalks, harasses and allegedly tortures unjustly targeted Americans and their families?

Some source material here:

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

Posted by: scrivener50 | May 28, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

How can Ms. Sotomayor be confirmed to fill a position on the Supreme Court when she ruled along with 2 other judges in 2004 "The right to possess a gun is clearly not a fundamental right"??!! This is one of the most cherished parts of the Constitution and should NEVER be considered less than a fundamental right! This is just another nail in her coffin along with Her ruling against the "White" fire fighters in New Haven which kept reverse discrimination alive and well!! She should NOT be confirmed just because of her hispanic heritage or because she can show empathy (bias)!!!

Posted by: Klimax | May 28, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

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